Using her own standards, Metiria Turei should be charged with benefit fraud

Hah I got away with ripping off taxpayers.

Metiria Turei has admitted to large-scale benefit fraud while she was on the DPB.

Stacey Kirk discusses Turei admission of fraud:

That’s a risky admission from self-confirmed benefit fraudster Metiria Turei.

She’s revealed that while she was a solo mother on the DPB, studying law and looking after a baby, she was also lying to her WINZ case worker about how many people she was flatting with, and so, what her accommodation costs actually were.

Turei says she has no idea how much she could be liable for, and whether or not the Ministry of Social Development could still launch an investigation, more than 20 years later.

The Greens co-leader’s story is one of determination and hard work, however. It would be a mean-spirited person who accused her of intentionally set out to rip off taxpayers.

That makes me mean-spirited.

And now she, with the backing of her party, is seeking to pay it forward with a policy that would raise all core benefit payments by 20 per cent, and remove all obligations on a person or parent to receive it.

That’s not paying it forward, that is extending the rip off that she conducted to many more people.

That’s where the controversy will lie, because there’s a major section of society who would think, actually, she should be paying it back.

She should, with interest.

Turei said she believes benefit dependency doesn’t exist, and very few set out to defraud the system – their circumstances, constructed by the state, give them little option.

So why reveal this now after 15 years of being in Parliament?

Why indeed? Does she think she was and still is above the law?

It’s also likely that the Greens have seen the success of the campaign for medicinal cannabis from late union stalwart Helen Kelly, who also vocally admitted her criminal culpability by openly smoking marijuana in the late stages of an aggressive form of cancer.

She received little but sympathy for her plight, and if Turei can be held as an example of a beneficiary who broke the law to make life better for her child, it could help shut down inevitable criticisms that others will intentionally seek to rip off a system that carries virtually no consequences.

There should be consequences. There is now prima facie evidence of fraud committed by Metiria Turei.

As far as the party is concerned, this speaks to their core base. Where the Greens have tried for years to downplay their most left of leanings, play up their economic credentials, some core Greenies may have been getting concerned at just what the modern Green caucus was prepared to give up to get into Government.

The danger, however, will be whether this does work to scare some Labour voters – cautious of an alliance that could alienate most of middle New Zealand.

It will most certainly alienate middle New Zealand. They really dislike bludgers and especially bludgers who thumb their noses at the law.

In Turei’s startling admission and vow, to significantly bolster the role of the welfare state, she’s counting on New Zealanders to not only voice concern over inequality, but to collectively do something about it that may go against the nature of their very core.

She’s effectively drawing an ideological line in the sand and asking New Zealanders: “Which side are you on?”

The taxpayers’ side.

But here is the twist that she hasn’t thought about. She has called for Todd Barclay to be prosecuted for his indiscretions based on forced statements to the media. She called on John Banks to be prosecuted for his donations scandal.

So, using her logic she should now be prosecuted for her admitted benefit fraud. If one is going to point the finger at others and make calls for prosecution, then one must accept the same in return.

As it stands now she is a self-confessed benefit fraudster; that carries penalties. She should be at the very least paying back the taxpayer for those defrauded monies…plus interest.

 

-Fairfax

 


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